Evolution Promises a Long Stealth Life [USN - 2 page PDF]

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Unread post28 Apr 2019, 01:58

Evolution Promises a Long Stealth Life [Two Page PDF of entire article attached below]
30 Apr 2019 Garrett Reim

"By adding new, exotic weaponry and electronic warfare capabilities to its armoury, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 will underpin US Navy and Marine Corps aviation for decades

"...In light of the prolonged life of fourth-generation aircraft, Boeing has gone so far as to say that the application of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth technology has been reduced to niche missions. However, the F-35’s role is increasingly seen as an advanced scout and air commander, Rear Admiral Scott D Conn, the navy’s director, air warfare, told the US Senate Armed Services Committee on 10 April.

“I foresee the F-35 forward operating, sensing, collecting and relaying information back to a weapons truck, known as a Super Hornet,” he says. “I see the [Northrop Grumman] E-2D involved in relaying critical information to all those fighters out there, while the [Boeing] EA-18 Growler with next-generation jammers is providing coverage. So it’s that systems of systems. It’s quite frankly, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

To allow the F-35C to operate beyond its 1,200nm (2,200km)-range limitation as a kind of airborne early warning and control aircraft, the USN envisions it being topped up by Boeing’s developmental MQ-25A Stingray unmanned refuelling tanker. That could help keep long-range anti-ship and anti-aircraft threats – weapons increasingly deployed by China and Russia – at arm’s length.

The F-35C is particularly well suited for this forward operating role because its stealth, suite of sensors and weapons load allow pilots to react quickly to enemy aircraft, says Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for Military Aerospace with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. “If you can get inside your opponent’s decision cycle, you can stand a better chance of winning and surviving. And they stand a greater chance of losing,” he says. “Forewarned is forearmed.”

In addition to killing its own prey, an F-35C could also gather targeting data and call back to a Super Hornet to fire on air or ground targets using long-range missiles, adds Conn....

...All variants of the F-35 should reach an 80% mission capability rate by September 2020, Vice Admiral Mathias Winter, executive officer of the Joint Program Office told the US House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee on 4 April. Currently, the F-35B has a 64% mission capability rate, while the F-35C is at 84%. The JSF is targeting a $25,000 per flight hour operating cost by 2025....

...Over the next decade, both F-35 variants are also likely to increasingly be used as electronic warfare platforms, says Barrie. “We will be opening up its capabilities in the electro- magnetic warfare spectrum – how the aircraft can be used in terms of suppression of enemy air defences, destruction of enemy air defences: hard kill or soft kill.”

Other areas to watch include the addition of beyond visual-range air-to-air missiles, such as the MBDA Meteor, which is planned for integration onto the UK’s F-35B fleet. Laser or high-powered microwave weapons, as well as radio frequency warheads, could also appear, says Barrie...."

Source: FLIGHT International 30 April 2019
F-35 Evolution Long Life Flight International 30 Apr 2019 pp2.pdf
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Unread post06 May 2019, 19:40

FA/XX to be UCAV commanded by customized C&C F-35 with increased internal fuel? Interesting reporting from the Navy League on emerging concepts for the future carrier air wing.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... -air-wing/

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